Merkel: Nuclear Power Extension of 10 to 15 Years Technically Desirable

Chancellor Angela Merkel once again confirmed that nuclear power a “bridging technology” for renewable energy in an interview with ARD, one of the two major public television stations. An extension of 10 to 15 years beyond the phase-out dates stipulated in the Atomic Energy Act (AtG) was technically desirable, she said.

Mrs Merkel based her opinion on an expert report on the consequences of a 4, 12 and 28-year extension, which the government received last Friday. More details on this opinion and an assessment by the government are expected today.

While a 10 to 15 year extension was technically desirable, she also had to take the safety of the nuclear power plants into consideration and make sure that an extension of nuclear power was legally robust, Mrs Merkel said. There has been an ongoing debate if and to what extent an extension requires the consent of the Federal Council, were Mrs Merkel’s coalition government does not possess a majority.

Apart from the nuclear fuel elements tax, which is supposed to funnel EUR 2.3 billion into public coffers as of 2011, Mrs Merkel made it clear that the government wanted an extra contribution by the nuclear power plant operators in return for an extension. The extra money shall be used to promote renewables. Mrs Merkel did not further specify what kind of contribution the government was thinking of. The government will decide about the nuclear fuel elements tax this Wednesday as part of an austerity package. It reportedly plans to decide about the future energy concept on 28 September 2010.

Source: ARD

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